Katherine Clapner wanted to hire her No. 2 chocolate maker, Ulysses Galvan, the second she opened Dude, Sweet Chocolate in 2009, but she couldn't afford him. Starting any business is tough, but making money from food sales is nearly impossible during the first weeks and months, so Galvan had to wait. He was brought on the following year and has been at Dude, Sweet ever since.
Around the same time he was hired, Galvan was diagnosed with leukemia -- a fact he did his best to keep hidden, Clapner says. It wasn't until Galvan's trips to the hospital became more frequent that she put together the potentially devastating pieces.
"He has this macho thing," Clapner says, describing how Galvan called in orders for the chocolate shop from the hospital. She eventually had Galvan get his wife on the phone so she could figure out what was going on. It wasn't good news.
Galvan's treatment went smoothly until November, when repeat infections had him checking into the hospital a few times a month. Then his insurance dumped him because of a pre-existing condition. His medical costs skyrocketed, but "it's not just the medical bills, it's not working," Clapner says. "He's a father of three."
The two met more than a decade ago, when they cooked together at now-closed Star Canyon, and they've worked together off and on ever since. Clapner knew she wanted to help. And when she heard Galvan's wife say she was applying for benefits, the idea solidified like cooling genache.
This weekend's Ulysses Galvan Benefit is the result of Clapner working with other friends from Star Canyon to put her plan in motion. She called on Lisa Moore, who now has a luxury concierge business and happily started organizing the event. FT33's Matt McCallister and Smoke's Tim Byres also signed on, before chefs from all over Dallas jumped to pitch in.
Restaurants participating now include Smoke, FT33, Abacus, Maple and Motor, Casa Rubia, Dragonfly, Ten Bells Tavern, David Anthony Temple, Nick and Sam's Mozzarella Company, Salum, Max's Wine Dive, Dude Sweet Chocolate, Café Momentum, Origins Kitchen and Bar, 3015 Trinity Groves and more.
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There's just one problem.
"Ticket sales are really low," Clapner says. And while many of these events typically see a lot of people show up at the door, this isn't that type of event. In order to make sure there's enough food on hand, attendees need to buy their ticket beforehand.
Want to go? Send an email to email@example.com with the number in your party, and this party for a very good cause will begin.
Ulysses Galvan Benefit, 3015 Gulden Lane, 5:30-8:30 p.m., March 9, $50 plus one bottle of wine per person. Check out the Facebook page for more information.